25 January 2011

Rickson Gracie Arm Bar Grip Analysis

The last week  I’ve made some great strides in the entries and finishes for arm bars.  In particular the finer details with which grip to use in the setup.  I was watching an old Rickson Gracie video and I noticed how he was setting up his grips for the arm bar.  The other points I noticed was how when finishing the arm bar he would get on his side slightly, always facing towards the opponents head.  It didn’t seem to matter about being perfectly perpendicular to the opponent,  sometimes it appeared he would even have the arm stretched out past that 90 degree point, more towards the opponents head.  I hope that makes sense.

So with these in mind I tried to apply some of the concepts to how I apply arm bars.  The most critical part is the grip he achieves.  It’s far superior to other grips I’ve seen and tried to use. 

  1. Grab their wrist with the hand nearest their head and get the other hand underneath their armpit and connect into a figure four grip by holding your wrist.  Never let your wrists bend backward once you’ve achieved this grip.
  2. Jump up, around or whatever variation you are currently doing.  Aim to get your hip behind their elbow near the shoulder.
  3. Try to “fall” onto your side slightly.  You should be on your hip/butt check nearest their head.
  4. This angle, with this grip enables you to pry open most grips. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to roll with the person, just don’t let go of the grip.

I’ve got this from a lot of setups over the last couple of days. Which is surprising given I never get arm bars at all!  Ever.  I’m sure their are issues, but now I’m getting 3-4 arm bars on each person I roll with!

I’m sure I was shown something like this when I first started, but honestly it’s all the little details that this grip delivers that make the big difference. I see people grabbing the grips the wrong way around, or using the forearm up near the bicep instead of the the wrist, or not using leverage by falling slightly away from the opponents strong resistance point.


Rickson Gracie demonstrating the grips for arm bar from side control

19 January 2011

Queensland and Brazil Floods

So my home city of Brisbane QLD just received the worst floods in 35 years. Scores of people dead and many thousands without power in the middle of a capital city!  Brazil was hit even worse,  mass landslides.  Luckily the flood for Brisbane was 1 metre lower than expected.  For my gym this made all the difference and it escaped any water damage.

I’ve noticed a trend in lessons that I hadn’t noticed before.  At my gym we do a lot of lessons based on submission but very little on passing or escaping. I think the ratio is the wrong way around. To me, what’s the point of the submission if I’m struggling to assert any type of control over my opponent.  I know the principles you hear of defend/attack but still I need to spend more time escaping and passing before I can get to submission attempts.

That being said I’ve been working on Arm Bars the last couple of weeks.  I’m trying to work one that involves set ups off successful scissor sweeps or failed scissor sweeps.  I just need to drill it out more to feel comfortable attempting it.  I’ll probably also start working on a combination from the flower sweep in closed guard.


06 January 2011

2011–Year of the Scissor sweep

So I’m setting myself some goals this year.  Nothing major but enough that it gives my training some underlying focus.  I want to work on all aspects of my BJJ and will work with whatever happens to be taught, but for clarity and purpose I’m going to pick some basic techniques to continue to sharpen.  Foremost this year will be the Scissor sweep.

I find I have more luck with sweep than finishes from guard.  Historically I’ve been a slow methodical BJJ practitioner who doesn’t give up top position once it’s gained.  My goal however is to roll more dynamically and not be worried about giving up top control as long as it’s flowing.

The other part move is going to be arm bar.  The most dreaded underutilized move in my arsenal.  I never even attempt this move.  I want to get to the point that I can just roll from armbar to sweep to armbar.  I still will go for the collar chokes, and to a lesser extent figure four locks but the emphasis is going to be on finding techniques that use my hips and legs and not my upper body or arms so much.

I want to see if I can change how I roll over the next twelve months.  Fundamentally change how I approach things to become more fluid.  A big part of this change will be flexibility.    I’m not  very flexible and I believe that is something that hinders my progress.

I really enjoyed the changes I made during the later half of 2010.  Focussing on a subset of techniques and really reviewing and drilling them in detail. I’ll still incorporate the collar choke into my fluidity, gaining high mount correctly. For learning though I’m going to just go for arm bars…and I imagine for 3 months really suck at them and get reversed and submitted badly.

Through these techniques my goal is develop an understanding of the application of the following concepts:

  • Fluidity
  • Timing
  • Controls (grips and levers)
  • Distance